Heartbroke ~ Chelsea Bieker


United by the stark and sprawling landscapes of California’s Central Valley, the characters of Heartbroke boil with reckless desire. A woman steals a baby from a shelter in an attempt to recoup her own lost motherhood. A phone-sex operator sees divine opportunity when a lavender-eyed cowboy walks into her life. A mother and a son selling dream catchers along a highway that leads to a toxic beach manifest two young documentary filmmakers into their realm. And two teenage girls play a dangerous online game with destiny.
Heartbroke brims over with each character’s attempt to salvage grace where they can find it. Told in bright, snapping prose that reveals a world of loss and love underneath, Chelsea Bieker brilliantly illuminates a golden yet gothic world of longing and abandonment under an unrelenting California sun.

Chelsea Bieker is the author of the novel Godshot, which was a finalist for both the Oregon and California Book Award, longlisted for The Center For Fiction’s First Novel Prize and named a Barnes and Noble Pick of the Month. Her story collection, Heartbroke, is out April 2022, and was named a best book of April by Nylon Magazine and an NPR Best Book of the Year. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Granta, The Cut, McSweeney’s, Los Angeles Review of Books, Lit Hub, Electric Literature, and others. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, as well as residencies from MacDowell and Tin House Books. Originally from California’s Central Valley, she lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children where she is writing her third book.

Further reading

Read: Women and Children First, The Cut

Review: Chelsea Bieker’s Central Valley stories teem with awful people. You’ll love them anyway, LA Times

Prompt: Write about your first love. Start with the truth then re-work as fiction.

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